February 7th, 2007
Paul’s message from today seems surprising. Paul tells us to obey the government, because all governments are appointed by God. Before you argue that this must have been limited to the government which existed at Paul’s time, bear in mind that the government in Paul’s time was an occupying army. The Romans were essentially the enemy, and they became famous for persecuting Christians. Yet Paul says, “Someone who resists the authority opposes what God has put in place, and those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves.” Paul’s message is essentially that Christians are called to be good citizens.
Paul’s Letter to the Romans — Chapter 13
13:1 Everyone should submit to the governing authorities, because there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are appointed by God. 13:2 Someone who resists the authority opposes what God has put in place, and those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves. 13:3 The authorities are not a source of anxiety for good conduct, but for bad. Do you want to avoid fear of authority? Do good things, and they will praise you, 13:4 for they are servants of God for your benefit. But if you do evil things, be afraid, because they do not carry the sword for nothing. They are agents of God, punishing the person who does evil. 13:5 So you need to submit, not only because of punishment, but also because of conscience. 13:6 This is why you pay taxes, because they are God’s servants, attending constantly to their work. 13:7 So pay everyone what you owe: taxes to anyone who is owed taxes; customs duty to anyone who is owed customs duty; respect to anyone who is owed respect; honour to anyone who is owed honour. 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, because people who love others have fulfilled the law.
13:9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not give false testimony,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other commandments there are, can all be summed up in one statement, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 13:10 Love does not harm a neighbour. So love is the fulfillment of the law. 13:11 As you do this, understand what time it is, that it is already time for you to wake up, because salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed. 13:12 The night is ending, and the day is near. So let us abandon the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. 13:13 Let us live decently, as in daylight; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and excesses, and not in quarrelling and jealousy. 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about the desires of the sinful nature.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance